Spanish internet company Lycos will unveil a new version of its HotBot search site today. The upgraded site, which integrates catalogues from Google, Inktomi and Teoma, offers search addicts a one-stop-spot to find what they're looking for.
Lycos' relaunch of HotBot comes as part of the company's plans to strengthen its search business after losing ground to competitors like Google. And many of the changes Lycos is introducing appear to be offering its popular rival the sincerest form of flattery.
Lycos acquired HotBot in 1999 when it purchased Wired Digital, but it hasn't done much to update the index until recently. Aimed at the tech-savvy user, HotBot will now boast catalogues from four favourite web search engines (including Google), plus expanded customisation tools that users can tweak to better define their queries.
"HotBot hadn't been invested in for years," said Tom Wilde, general manager of Lycos Search. "Since then, the search space has become more competitive and we thought it was time to extend our appeal to that segment of the audience."
Users type in a word or phrase and can then select which engine to search. If they do not find what they are looking for on one engine, they can select another catalogue to search without leaving the HotBot site. Combined, the four catalogues have more than six billion pages of information.
To help users narrow their searches, HotBot offers features such as date and domain filtering, world region filters and a choice of 47 languages. Users can also sort results by file types and exclude sites with offensive language.
Lycos hopes its streamlined site will snag users. The new HotBot home page has a basic design and will not contain advertisements (strangely reminiscent of Google's pared-down, ad-free style). The search results will have paid-for-placement listings.
Lycos plans to offer more speciality catalogues, such as news and images, imitating Google once again.